1. Last week we had a full moon on Friday the 13th; this week the summer solstice is on a Saturday. What shenanigans can we come up with this weekend? Well, start Friday, where in Bangor you can take your pick of a number of fun live performances events, such as the Focus Group improv troupe at 8 p.m. at the Next Generation Theatre in Brewer, the first River City Cinema outdoor screening at sundown in Pickering Square in Bangor (“The Day The Earth Stood Still”), Cirque Du Soleil at the Cross Insurance Center (7:30 p.m., as well as 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 and 5 p.m. Sunday), the monthly contradance at the UU Church on Park Street (8 p.m.) and the acclaimed production of “The Rocky Horror Show” at Penobscot Theatre (pictured above, 8 p.m. Friday, 5 and 10 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday). Musically speaking, check out on Friday either Bizzy Gruntry’s CD release party at the Big Easy, Celtic rockers the Galley Rats at Nocturnem Drafthaus, DJ Oshea and Mike E Styx at Tantrum, or come party with me at Paddy Murphy’s for the Here Comes The Night Arcade Fire karaoke competition — you could win tickets to a number of different Waterfront Concerts! On Saturday, take your pick of either Rotating Taps at Paddy’s, Pitch Black Ribbons on Nocturnem, Him & Her at the Big Easy, the Blast Addicts at the Downunder Club at Seasons, and out in Winterport, there’s Poke Chop and the Other White Meats at 4Points BBQ & Blues.
2. There’s a lot of dancing to be had Friday night in Portland, starting with a double bill of funk at Port City Music Hall featuring Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds (pictured at left) and Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket, or the local vibes of Chaos Sauce, Nuclear Bootz and the Bedbugs at Empire. Bayside Bowl hosts rockers Lunch Cult, Derive and the Taxidermists, there’s the Endless Jags CD release for “Sell the Banquet” with guests Rough Francis and Fat Creeps at Space Gallery, and at the Oak and the Ax in Biddeford, check out the heavy sounds of Amen Dunes, Afraid and Herbcraft. Moving onto Saturday, there’s a triple bill of indie rock One Longefellow Square featuring Privateer, Jeff Beam and Star Rover, there’s songwriter James Montgomery at Empire, and at the Oak and the Ax, there’s Palberta, (New England) Patriots, Butcher Boy and Hurricane of Love. Sunday doesn’t stop either, with a ska show featuring Reel Big Fish and Survey Says at Port City, rockers Crystal Stilts and with Great Western Plain at Space Gallery, and another triple bill of interesting, experimental indie rock with Kuupuu, Tsembla, idm theft able and Colleen Kinsella at the Oak and the Ax. There’s also a free screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” at 8 p.m. Sunday on the roof of 45 Spring Street.
3. In Bar Harbor this weekend on Friday there’s a couple of fun things to do, including check out party rockers the Larks at Carmen Verandah, bluegrass band Tricky Britches at the Lompoc Cafe, or up in Ellsworth, there’s the Junkyard Cats at Chummies and the Trisha Mason Band at the Grand Theatre. Across the bay, the Maine Fare celebration (more on that in a minute) offers music from Spanish ensemble Olas (pictured) at Steamboat Landing Park in downtown Belfast, starting at 7 p.m., and further down Route One, there’s Johnson and Clancy at the Speakeasy and an Irish Music session at Rock City Coffee, both in Rockland. Bar Harbor again is a great place to be Saturday, when songwriter Ian Fitzgerald is set for the Lompoc and Celtic rockers St. Huckleberry are at Carmen Verandah. In Belfast, Three Tides and Marshall Wharf Brewing launch their first outdoor concert of the summer Saturday, featuring David Raitt and the Main Line Band.
4. It’s the first big weekend for the many food and beer and wine festivals held statewide. First off, the Greater Bangor CVB’s annual Tap Into Summer Beer Fest is set for Saturday on the Bangor Waterfront, and features 24 different breweries including local favorites like Friar’s Brewhouse, Black Bear, Sea Dog and Geaghan’s, and statewide newcomers like Funky Bow and Strong Brewing; it’s set for noon til 5, with a VIP session from noon to 1, and music from Stesha Cano and the Rotating Taps; for ticket info visit the CVB website. Meanwhile in western Maine, the first-ever Great Falls Brew Fest, organized by Baxter Brewing, will be held in Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston, and will feature a dizzying array of Maine, New England and California brewers. It’s set for noon to 5 Saturday with a VIP session from noon to 1; there’s a cornhole tournament, music and barbecue, too. Check the website for more info. Finally, Maine Fare, a celebration of local food now in its third year, is set for Friday and Saturday in Belfast, and features two full days of cooking workshops, farm tours, demonstrations and plenty of tasty food, including a cheese and cider tasting Friday night and a beer and oyster tasting Saturday. For a full schedule and ticket info, visit the Maine Fare website.
5. Seeing as Saturday is, in fact, the solstice, you can celebrate the longest day of the year with the town of Rockland’s annual Summer Solstice Party, set for 4 to 8 p.m. Main street will be shut down, and there will be food, vendors, music from an array of local bands, dancing and lots of children’s activities — definitely a family friendly way to ring in the summer. And if you’re not in the Midcoast area, you can celebrate the season in any way you see fit!